Wednesday, June 4, 2014

150 in 5, A Cause With A Giveaway - Day Three

Hi, all!  

Welcome back for the third day of “150 in 5”!  I know I promised a guest blogger today, but life happened, so that’s going to come tomorrow.  And I know you’re going to love her post, so be sure to come back then.  If this is your first visit this week, you can read more about “150 in 5” here - but here it is in a nutshell...  My daughter and her family are in the process of adopting a little boy in China who is profoundly deaf.  She’s handcrafting and selling necklaces to help cover the high cost of the adoption.  And she’s offering a great giveaway this week!

I hope you’ll help my daughter reach her goal, either by purchasing a necklace, or spreading the word on social media!


Today I’d like to share a bit with you about childhood deafness.  As many of you know, my youngest granddaughter (age 2) was born almost totally deaf.  

There's a big "hi" from Emmy!
Amazingly enough, they discovered this fact before she ever left the hospital!  Tennessee has a very good early intervention program, and she has progressed incredibly well.  It turned out that she was a good candidate for cochlear implants, and she received her first cochlear implant at the age of eight months and the second one a month later.  Nowadays we are entertained by her belting out “Let It Go” at the top of her lungs!

Here are some facts I’ve learned recently...

About 2 to 3 out of every 1000 children in the US are born deaf or hard-of-hearing.  Nine out of every ten children who are born deaf are born to parents who can hear.

 A cochlear implant (CI) is a surgically implanted electronic device that provides a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard of hearing.  Cochlear implants may help provide hearing in patients who are deaf because of damage to sensory hair cells in their cochleas. In those patients, the implants often can enable sufficient hearing for better understanding of speech. The quality of sound is different from natural hearing, with less sound information being received and processed by the brain. However, many patients are able to hear and understand speech and environmental sounds. Newer devices and processing-strategies allow recipients to hear better in noise, enjoy music, and even use their implant processors while swimming.

Here you can see the lights on Emmy's
implants that let us know the
battery is almost dead!
As of December 2012, approximately 324,000 people worldwide have received cochlear implants; in the U.S., roughly 58,000 adults and 38,000 children are recipients.  The vast majority are in developed countries due to the high cost of the device, surgery and post-implantation therapy. A small but growing segment of recipients have bilateral implants for hearing stereo sound (one implant in each cochlea).
Cochlear implants for congenitally deaf children are considered to be most effective when implanted at a young age, during the critical period in which the brain is still learning to interpret sound.
"I really don't want to listen to you
right now, so here are my processors!"
Despite the fact that Emmy has cochlear implants, it is still necessary to teach her sign language for the times when she is not wearing them.  (Like when she takes them off to avoid hearing you, as above!)  Believe me - the signs for “no” and “stop” are important with a two year old around!  But she is also getting quite a vocabulary in American Sign Language, and actually taught me the words for “boy” and “girl” the other day!  This is all part of her speech therapy sessions, so she is essentially learning two languages at once!
For various reasons, children who are profoundly deaf tend to develop slower physically than hearing children, so in addition to speech therapy, Emmy has been attending physical therapy sessions since she was a few months old.  Part of Tennessee’s early intervention program, this is all done towards getting her on an equal footing with her peers before she reaches school age.
And just an interesting fact - teaching any child a second language has been shown to increase cognitive performance in overall basic skills in elementary school. According to the College Entrance Examination Board, they go on to score higher on SATs. Children who learn a second language at a young age also exhibit better problem-solving skills, enhanced spatial relations, and heightened creativity. Learning a second language early on encourages flexible thinking and communication skills, helping children consider issues from more than one perspective.
American Sign Language (ASL) is considered a second language too!  If you have young (pre-speech) children in your life, try teaching them simple words like more, milk, eat, sleep - you’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to find out what they want and you’ll want to teach them more!  There are videos available on YouTube that can show you how to sign many words  many are very simple and logical.  For example, the sign for "milk" is to use both hands like you are milking a cow!
So now you can see what I've been doing for the past two years - learning a new language - and what we'll be doing when my daughter and her family bring home our Chinese grandson!  It's a lot of work and lots to learn, but it's so rewarding when you see the results - like a child belting out a song that, without cochlear implants, she never would have heard.  I wish I had a video of Emmy singing - but it's still so new I just sit and listen in awe, only remembering too late to turn on the video!

And this will be the last "informational" blog post for the week - be sure to come back tomorrow for our guest blogger's really interesting quilt-related post!  I'm so excited to see what she's going to share.

And now I'll leave you with a little American Sign Language


PS - if you're looking to see who won the AMB Blog Hop giveaway, click here!


  1. One of the children in my Sunday School class had cochlear implants. She would take off her "ears" when she didn't want to hear her parents too. That was in TX. In fact I am on my way to a four week sign language course this morning.

  2. Many colleges and universities consider ASL a second language. My son is on his third semester of ASL to fulfill his language requirement and has really enjoyed it.I learned to sign the alphabet at summer camp when I was 10 and still remember most of it

  3. Such an interesting post. The little guy I babysit has cochlear implants, but isn't learning sign language. He hasn't learned to take his 'ears' off when he doesn't want to hear us yet, but I sure appreciate being able to take them off before he naps. He can sleep through anything!

  4. I can't decide which necklace I want, I know I could get more than one. I posted your link on my blog tonight. Wish her success.

  5. A really great post this. I make tactile resources for visually, physically and hearing impaired bairns that we support from pre nursery through secondary school. We support the special needs children with sight and hearing loss too.
    Ive recently been asked to make hearing aid decorations funny enough to encourage children to wear their aids more and keep them in lol and they have proved very successful I'm assured.
    Dr Whos Clara and Hello Kitty I made using shrink plastic and then some dangly pink beaded ones too.
    On facebook there is a Uk lass selling commercailly made aid decorations which you might be interested in seeing if youve nevers een them before. They are super, Spiderman and disney characters there for example.
    A friend adopted 2 sisters from China and I recall that cost them an arm and a leg 12 years back. They had to shell out to all manner of 'officials' along the way. I do wish your daughter every success with her adoption and how lovely that she has opted to adopt a child with hearing difficulties and give him a whole bunch of opportunities that would have been denied him in his own country. Bless her heart!

  6. I also have a granddaughter with cochlear implants. She is 7 yrs. old, just completed 1st grade (in a regular classroom) and is doing extremely well. She has not learned sign language. She was diagnosed at birth and had the implants at 8 mos. and 13 mos. She is very responsible for her "pieces" and her batteries. She plays softball and swims. She has the waterproof "pieces" for swimming. We feel so blessed that technology has provided a hearing world for her.


    might be worth you taking a look guess there must be an equivalent over there? : ) Lyn


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